Carausius morosus

Physical characteristics: This species is somewhat smooth, plain, wingless, with antennae about one-third the length of the body. Adult males are thin, brown, and reach 1.9 to 2.4 inches (48 to 61 millimeters) in length. The bodies of the females are somewhat knobby and measure 2.8 to 3.3 inches (70 to 84 millimeters) in length. They are variously colored dull green or brown. The inner base of each foreleg is bright red.

Geographic range: Indian stick insects are native to Shembagonor and Trichinopoly in Madura Province, southern India. They now also live in Madagascar and the Cape Town suburbs of South Africa. Released individuals and escapes are occasionally found in the United

States, United Kingdom, and other countries of Europe. In these cooler climates they generally die out within a few years.

Habitat: These insects live on many species of bushes and trees in India. In other parts of the world they are found on garden plants and natural vegetation.

Diet: This species eats a wide variety of plants in the wild and in captivity. Captive colonies are often kept on hedges.

Behavior and reproduction: Indian stick insects play dead when disturbed and will remain motionless for hours.

Males are rare, and reproduction is mainly by parthenogenesis. Females drop several hundred eggs to the ground. The life cycle usually is completed in twelve to sixteen months. Gynandro-morphs also are reared occasionally.

Indian stick insects and people: This species is very easy to raise and is regularly used as a study animal by scientists.

Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened. ■

Both female (pictured here) and male Indian stick insects play dead when disturbed and will remain motionless for hours. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

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